Police bust an IED manufacturing unit in Darjeeling
Darjeeling, September 4, 2017: The Police on Monday bust an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) manufacturing unit at Dabaipani, Lower Harsing below Lebong in Darjeeling. A 28 year old woman was arrested while others managed to give the police a slip.
A suo moto FIR has been lodged against GJM President Bimal Gurung and others in connection with this case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA.) Police have launched a manhunt for others.
A large police contingent including central forces led by Akhilesh Chaturvedi, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling conducted raids at Dabaipani in the Lower Harsing area in Lebong Valley, 18 km from Darjeeling in the wee hours of Monday.
"We have recovered gelatin sticks, power gel, metal splinters, shrapnel, large number of detonators and implements used for the manufacture of IEDs including pipes, cast iron. Along with this bullet heads and 3.3 ammunition were also recovered from the two houses. They were running an IED manufacturing unit in these houses. Forensic experts have been called in for a probe." stated Chaturvedi. One Rajni Rai (28 years) was arrested in connection with this case.
Her husband Sekhar Rai managed to give the police the slip along with Prabhakar Rai, Dibakar Rai and Pradip Thapa. They took with them manufactured IEDs, claim police. The two houses belong to Sekhar Rai and Pradip Thapa.
A case has been started at the Darjeeling Sadar Police Station against Bimal Gurung, Prakash Gurung, Puran Tamang, Pukar Subba, Bimala Tamang, Kiran, Pradip Thapa, Sekhar Rai, Prabhakar Rai, Dibakar Rai, Tashi Sherpa and others. They have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA.)
"We had detained others and are verifying their connections. The people involved in the manufacture and blasting of IEDs are well trained. There are some GJM leaders trained by North East Terrorist outfits. They are helping these modules. Puran Tamang, the President of the Youth wing of the Lebong Valley unit of a political party is in charge of this module" claimed Chaturvedi.
On the day of the Darjeeling blast on August 19, residents of Darjeeling had heard sounds of multiple blasts from the Lebong Valley area.
Interestingly Sanjay Thulung, former GJM youth leader wanted in connection with the Assam arms haul case, believed to be absconding, surfaced in Darjeeling recently. On November 8, 2014, along with some incriminating documents and cash of Rs 10,000, the Assam Police had recovered an M-16 rifle, two Beretta pistols, three .32 pistols, 300 rounds of 9 mm pistol, 80 rounds of AK series assault rifles, 198 rounds ammunitions of M-16 and 60 rounds of .32 pistol from a vehicle
bearing West Bengal registration Number (WB74A 4788) traveling from Dimapur in Nagaland to West Bengal.
One Ganesh Chettri (53), resident of Baksa district of Assam along with Umesh Kami (29) of Lankapara, Alipurduar District of West Bengal were arrested from the vehicle. They had named Thulung as the person behind the arms procurement stating that he had visited Nagaland to procure the arms.
During interrogation the two had revealed that 15 Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP, a voluntary force affiliated to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha) along with others had undergone 14 days arms training in Nagaland in 2013 with the intention of launching an armed movement for separate state of Gorkhland, under the banner of Gorkha Liberation Army (GLA.) Thulung had allegedly paid Rs. 13.3 Lakhs for the training.
He was absconding since November 2014. The duo had further revealed that members of the banned militant outfit of Nagaland - the NSCN had held a number of meetings in Darjeeling Hotels. The Hills have been witnessing IED blasts since August 19. There have been blasts in Darjeeling town, Kalimpong police station, Sukhiapokhari police station, Lhodama, Peshok bridge, 27th Mile on the NH10 and 6th Mile police outpost. In the Kalimpong police station blast a civic volunteer was killed and a home guard personnel was grievously injured.
There was specific intelligence inputs that small units manufacturing IEDs along with bullet shaped iron pieces for the use with catapults have come up in the Lebong Valley area including Badamtam, Harsing and Phoobsering. A large quantity of gelatine sticks stolen from a NTPC site at Negi under the Poolbazar police station were being used for IEDs feel the police.
On June 22 around 480 gelatin sticks were stolen from an NTPC project at Negi. It is believed that these gelatin sticks are being used in the IEDs.
In the Darjeeling town blast An 8 feet long wire and battery has been recovered from the Darjeeling blast site which experts believe was used as the detonator. Traces of nitroglycerin have been found from the Darjeeling blast site pointing to the use of gelatin sticks. Gelatin stick is an explosive material consisting of collodion-cotton (a type of nitrocellulose or gun cotton) dissolved in either nitroglycerine or nitroglycol and mixed with wood pulp and saltpetre. GJM President Bimal Gurung, Youth leader Prakash Gurung and Praveen Subba were charged under the UAPA in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong blasts. They have been named in the 6th Mile police outpost blast FIR also along with one Sameer Subba and charged under the UAPA.
The police have also launched a man hunt for Bimal Gurung, Preakash Gurung and Praveen Subba. A Lookout notice has been issued in the name of Bimal Gurung, Prakash Gurung and GJM general Secretary Roshan Giri.
Police are of the opinion that Gurung is hiding in Sikkim. The last he was seen was in the Seven Hills resort, Namchi in South Sikkim on September 1 where he was allegedly attending a GJM Central Committee meet. The police had raided the resort but Gurung managed to give them the slip.
On September 2, Gurung is a video clip stated that he would continue the struggle for Gorkhaland. "I am alone in the jungles. However I will continue the struggle for GLP along with my GLP brothers and sisters" claimed Gurung in the video clip.
The Gorkhaland Personnel (GLP) was floated on March 16, 2008 by the GJM during the Gorkhaland agitation. The GLP had sparked controversies initially by dawning army type uniform. The GLP had been undertaking policing duties, conducting raids for illegal liquor and drugs in the past.
Earlier they had set up check points and even conducted search and raids. The GLP had been raised and trained by Gorkha ex-servicemen and used to be housed in camps. The GLP claimed that earlier there were around 15,000 GLPs. At present, their strength has reduced to around 9,000. Intelligence agencies claim that many have been recalled with the resurrection of the agitation. The police believe that as they are well trained. Meanwhile Panighatta located on the foothills in the Mirik Sub Division opened up following a Trinamool Congress rally on Monday. A similar peace rally was taken out in Mirik by the TMC.
Shops and business establishments opened up with public transport including North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses and autos began to ply.
"Police bandobast has been beefed up in order to prevent any sort of confrontation or clashes between bandh supporters and people opposing the bandh" stated a police officer. Monday was the 82nd day of the indefinite bandh in the Hills. Disgruntled GJM central committee leader Anit Thapa will be addressing a rally in Kurseong town on Tuesday.